BMW'S HIGH-PERFORMANCE version of its genre-bending uber-SUV, the X6 M, has finally arrived in Australian showrooms, priced from $179,900 and gunning for a slice of Porsche Cayenne Turbo and Mercedes ML 63 AMG sales.
Although priced higher than the Benz, the BMW X6 M significantly undercuts the Cayenne Turbo and - according to BMW - offers more power, more efficiency and better performance than both.
Power comes from a twin-turbocharged 4.4 litre petrol V8 which develops 408kW and 680Nm of torque, the latter of which is available from between 1500 and 5650 rpm. Performance is suitably brisk: the 0-100km/h sprint can be done away with in just 4.7 seconds and top speed is electronically limited to 250km/h.
All four wheels are driven via a six-speed automatic transmission, which is also equipped with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
Suspension hardware is supplemented by BMW's Adaptive Drive system, which features electronically adjustable dampers as well as self-levelling air suspension on the rear axle. The X6 M rides 10mm lower than the 'regular' X6, and the suspension tune is markedly stiffer and more resistant to body roll.
Damper tuning and power steering assistance can be altered via the wheel-mounted M Drive button, which also unlocks sportier throttle mapping and shift mapping.
A selectable M Dynamic Mode unlocks a less invasive stability control program, and diverts more power to the rear wheels to enhance cornering feel.
The X6 M's interior gets heated seats, a unique instrument cluster design with white illumination, an M leather steering wheel and M-branded kickplates and footrest.
Standard equipment includes bi-xenon headlamps, daytime running lamps, a sunroof and quad chrome exhausts. A heads-up display and adaptive headlights with high beam assist are optional extras.
Available in seven exterior colours and with black, white or beige leather upholstery, the 2010 BMW X6 M is available now, with prices starting from $179,900 before on-road costs.